GALLERY & VIDEO: A one woman traffic crusade highlights the chaotic one-way system in Wisbech

Wisbech market square, One way system. Picture: Steve Williams.

Wisbech market square, One way system. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

An impromptu one-woman traffic crusade took to the streets of Wisbech when cars going around a new one way system the wrong way prompted her to take action.

Wisbech market square, One way system. Picture: Steve Williams.

Wisbech market square, One way system. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

Alina Whiteman was out shopping when the chaos of blocked streets from the week-old traffic system pushed her to walk into the road and talk to motorists.

Retired civil servant Miss Whiteman, of Leverington, said: “It’s crazy down here, people are ignoring the no entry signs and nobody is here to enforce it.

“I would prefer to see total pedestrianisation of the town centre then it would stop all of this confusion.

“At the very least they should have a traffic warden to enforce this new system. Everybody is confused by it.”


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Car chaos hit town after Cambridgeshire County Council changed the direction cars drive round the Market Place and Union Street.

Signs are up, but some people think they are unclear and on market days, when the market place is blocked off, the problems escalate.

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Assistant manager of ladies fashionwear store QS in High Street, Rosemary Kelly, said the problem was made worse by cars parking on either side of Market Hill.

She said: “If there was an emergency an ambulance or fire engine would never get through. There needs to be double yellows on this street to stop it getting clogged up.

“Drivers are ignoring the signs and going the wrong way. It has been manic. Drivers are getting angry, we look out the shop window and can’t believe the chaos.”

Ray Wicks, postmaster and proprietor of Etcetera and a member of Wisbech Chamber of Commerce, said something needed doing to resolve the problem.

“This has been talked about for two years. Something needed doing, but what has happened is a system has been introduced with nobody to enforce it.

“Parking bays in the market place are now angled in the wrong position which confuses drivers. On market days on Thursday and Saturday you see motorists reversing down a street they went up the wrong way. It is chaotic.

“Traffic lights not used to coping with high volumes of cars are now causing tailbacks.”

Driver Louise Scott, who was driving to work in town, said: “Now you have shown me the signs I can see them but they are placed too high and are too small. I was doing my usual journey, I just didn’t realise it had changed.”

I had the misfortune to enter Wisbech market place this morning.

County councillor Alan Lay said it was: “Utter chaos. Cars not seeing the no entry sign near the old Post Office. There has been a lot of friction with cars refusing to back up.

“Vans entering the wrong way, even walkers shouting out. There should have been a warden of some kind stopping the drivers and offering guidance.

“Little Church Street was blocked by a huge lorry driving the wrong way and parked up, so that exit route could not be used.

“This change of use is debate-able, but the fact that this has been imposed without much prior notice to drivers in unforgivable.

“Parking bays are now at the wrong angle.

“I sit on planning at Shire Hall, how is it that I knew nothing of this until the announcement last week?”

Changes to the traffic flows were made after the county council said it “learnt lessons and listened” in conjunction with Wisbech Town Council.

A County Council’s spokesman, said: “We have been working for some time with the local council and businesses to make people aware of the changes which have been made to the one way system in Wisbech.

“We understand some people might be uncertain of the changes however there is new signage in place to guide drivers around the town centre.

“We believe that the changes should make a real difference to the traffic in Wisbech but would urge people to drive with care as they get used to the new layout. We have also been working with the Police on enforcing the new system.”

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